The Illusionist’s Tower
Drag and drop:
Henceforth I’m just going to post insular scenarios that can be applied to any game. Homebrew campaign plots are are not particularly useful; after all, if you’re running a homebrew campaign then you’ll already have that covered. There are plenty of professionally-made campaigns to run, if that’s your thing (the illusionist’s tower is certainly not one of them).
A nice quiet town:
The farming village of Yewbeck is typical of a small community out in the sticks; wheat fields, cattle, a small chapel, and plenty of industrious folk going about their day. Of course, all is not well – the denizens have no spark in their eye, nor spring in their step. The locals just stopped showing any kind of enthusiasm or emotion when a mysterious tower appeared, just beyond the meadows.
The illusionist grows ever more powerful as he moves from town to town; feeding on the the minds of residents, and leaving simpletons in his wake.
The distant wooden tower appears simple from afar, but grander on approach. By the time the party reaches its base, the structure is solid stone and least a couple of hundred metres tall. The gist is that the closer the adventurers, the more strongly the illusionist can affect their mind. The players will obviously twig that something is up, but any attempts to dispel magic will fail – these are not classic illusions. An observer would see the party standing motionless in a field; everything that occurs is strictly in their collective mind – a battle of wills.
DC10 Wisdom saves upon entry and at any new predicament, which should make five or six checks in total. Characters receives a -1 penalty on rolls after failing a check, stacking up to four times. The adventurer is rendered unconscious after an incredibly unlikely five failed saves.
The stone tower features eight wooden double doors equally spaced around its circumference. Opening with ease, any door reveals a torch-lined corridor that stretches off into the distance. All doors are revealing the same passage, so if one player enters through one door then he will be visible from another. The walls of the tower are seemingly endless if climbing is attempted, despite gains in altitude.
The corridor has no end, so a party could wander for an eternity; if and when they decide to turn back, a brick wall will block their way. The wall features an etching of a closed eye, and stays equidistant if the party walk further ahead. Players escape the passage by closing their eyes and walking ahead, facing the eye and walking backwards, or employing any other suitably imaginative strategy.
This grand chamber has seen better days. The tiled floor is thick with dust, as are the impressive chandelier and assorted furniture. A grand piano sits beneath a sheet in the corner of the room, and various oil paintings decorate the walls. A large ornate mirror spans the far side of the room – beneath it lies a simple sideboard littered with green and red bottles. The mirror reflects the room in its prime; silk drapes, immaculate artwork and gleaming fixtures. A DC12 passive or DC15 active perception check highlights that the colour of the reflected vials are reversed. A wooden door in the mirror image does not exist in the dilapidated room.
The red and green vials are healing and poison vials respectively. Consumption of the green will ‘kill’ an adventurer; although they reappear as their reflected counterpart in the mirrored room. Drinking the red potion will kill their counterpart but do them no ill.
Any suitably creative solution will work, including everyone drinking the green vials (and appearing in the other room), smashing the mirror from either side (merging the two rooms), or tearing down the wall at the location of the reflected door.
You shall not pass:
A large circular room with a domed roof contains a bronze door at the far end… and a hulking stone giant in the middle. The giant bellows “go back”, and gestures to the doorway through which the party entered. His reach is long, so no area of the round room is safe from his club. The giant will respond to questions, but isn’t sure why he’s here or even where he’s from – he just knows that they need to go back.
Killing the guard or sneaking past in some devious manner will allow the party to use the bronze door, which leads to a short corridor and another wooden door. This door leads back into the giant’s room, where scenario has been reset (go back!). It will be obvious at this point that the group can advance by going through the door by which they entered.
Riddle me this:
A plain room with a rectangular stone slab set into three of the walls, each slab engraved with a riddle. Speaking the solution aloud will cause the slabs to slide in and to the side; alternative answers that make sense are also be fine.
Borne of darkness
By Lustre bright
To the rapacious
A Spherical delight
Large in body,
Devoid of mind
There’s life within
Of a thousand kind
I come at night
But leave no trace
Bring joy and fear
To every race
The first riddle solved opens the way to the way forward, whilst the other two lead to rooms with ridiculous riches. Think vorpal swords, mountains of gold, and rubies the size of your fist! If your characters don’t already know that things aren’t right, this will swing it.
A young girl, middle-aged woman, and old man sit bound to chairs; placards around their necks read ‘thief’, ‘adulteress’, and ‘murderer’ respectively. An axe lays on the floor before the hapless trio, and a voice booms out as the party enters – ‘the blood of the guilty will show you the way’. Honest about their guilt, they all have reasonable explanations for their crime and plead for their release.
I think that most players would draw a little of their own blood, but the death of any or all will do the job. The blood drips to the floor and runs down between one of the tiles in the floor. This can be pried up to reveal a ladder that descends into another corridor.
The man behind the curtain:
A cloaked man of pensionable age stands before a grand stained glass window, that wouldn’t look out of place in a gothic cathedral. He congratulates them on their mental fortitude, and states that their faculties will make a fine meal. The illusionist will be open and make no apology for what he does; all things must feed. He clicks his fingers at an appropriate moment, shattering the room in which they stand like a prism against a wall.
Now standing in a field of humanoid bones beneath a blood-red sky; the illusionist and seven mirror images surround the party, and at least five or six ice mephits circle above.
The adventurers find themselves back in the field at the conclusion of the encounter – the old man unconscious by a wooden shack.
Loot, glorious loot:
Four Superior Healing potions (8d4 + 8).
A potion of invisibility.
One potion of mental fortitude (+1 d6 on a spell attack roll).
Wand of portal with 1d4 charges (allows one to pass through walls).
1200gp worth of materials and trinkets.